Peer education: a key to addressing ignorance and high HIV prevalence and infection among MSM in Nigeria

Published: July 18, 2010

Peer education: a key to addressing ignorance and high HIV prevalence and infection among MSM in Nigeria

A. Dike

Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Rights Nigeria, Outreach Department, Amac, Nigeria

Issues: HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in nigeria is estimated at 13.5% much higher than the national prevalence(4.4%). this trend stems from lack of knowledge of risk among MSM as well as ignorance in the general population on MSM health needs. low level of of knowledge among care providers to address the specific MSM friendly services is a major challenge. education on HIV/AIDS basic facts, care and support, sensitization programs at comunity level, access to HCT and STI management are few among MSM. ignorance is not only detrimental but a major factor affecting risk perception to HIV that undermines the capacity of MSM organizations to operate sustainable programs especially when they are excluded from the program designing.

Description: Alliance rights nigeria, an MSM, CSO in partnership with heartland aliance: a USAID funded program is addressing this gap. peer education is used to reach MSM at community level. capacity building to educate MSM about HIV/AIDS basic facts, correct and consistent use of condoms and lubricants, management of STI, positive living and stigma reduction is done by MSM peer educators. as a result MSM attitude, practice and HCT uptake is increasingly improving. peer educators work with health care providers to ensure their peers get friendly and quality services.

Lessons learned: Sustained peer education for MSM using the MSM at grassroot level can improve understanding and risk perception

Next steps: The national agency for the contol of aids (NACA) should develop specific sexual minority interventions especially those that target MSM. peer education among MSM should be integrated into all programs at all grassroots for sustainability. imperatively, education on needs of MSM should start with policy makers, health care providers and the implementing partners.

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